|Make a Difference.....
Since chances are great that your family is wired to the outside world, use your devices as tools to nurture compassion and gratitude in your kids.
Seek out online games, apps and videos that promote kindness. Check out our 5 favorite digital resources. Also consider the recommendations by Common Sense Media, arranged by age.
Use technology to practice kindness. If your children are plugged in anyway, encourage them to email thank-you notes; call, text or email someone they love; create positive posts on social media; add to an online family gratitude journal; or create and share a video promoting a cause they care about.
Use technology with your child. Many of us use screens as babysitters - at least once in a while. After all, everyone needs to take a shower or finish some chores. But make an effort to watch videos and TV and play online games together as often as possible. Have conversations about the value and impact of what you're seeing.
Do some filming yourself. If possible, create media with your kids. Many experts believe that putting together a "news" video, for example, can help children become better consumers of media because they will see the issues journalists or social advocates grapple with.
Teach technology "manners" to your kids. We've all been frustrated by people talking on cell phones during dinner or a movie, blocking our view by taking videos of
a school concert, or texting while driving. Manners involve life-long education, but you can start early by pointing out how such rude (or dangerous) behavior impacts other people - and modeling positive behaviors yourself. When your children get old enough to have social media accounts, monitor their postings, and provide continual reminders to never use the digital world for unkindnesses and cheap shots.
Don't allow technology to prevent your family from having experiences that promote social-emotional learning. Time spent using smart phones, watching TV, playing video games or surfing the Internet can prevent families from taking part in health-promoting activities, like being in nature, getting involved in the community, reading together and having socializing with friends. Consciously arrange time away from your devices to enjoy these activities, all of which build compassion and connection.